NoVa Re-Open Will Be Delayed; Masks to be Required at Work

Dear WANADA Members,

Over the weekend, Gov. Ralph Northam published the text of Executive Order 61, which, among other aspects, will allow Virginia businesses to operate at 50 percent of their lowest occupancy load, as opposed to the current limit of 10 patrons. However, the leaders of every large jurisdiction in Northern Virginia have asked Gov. Northam to delay the implementation of the order in the D.C. suburbs past May 15, and today the governor said that he will grant that request.

The governor's order also requires that "employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times." This provision, as of May 15, will be enforceable by the state Department of Health, and the department has the authority to close non-compliant businesses. In addition, even when "phase one" of the re-opening plan is implemented, businesses will still be required to keep all employees and customers at least six feet apart at all times. Please make sure to comply diligently with these ordinances, and to document your ongoing efforts to do so.

For reference, the authors of the letter requesting that Gov. Northam delay the re-opening in Northern Virginia represent the independent city of Alexandria, plus the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William. Based on the governor's expressed interest to have region-wide cooperation on the re-opening timeline, we anticipate that the delay will also cover, at minimum, the independent cities of Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park. 

We will provide you with more definitive information on the operating statutes of Stafford County and points south and west of there later this week, when we get more details on Northern Virginia's re-opening delay.

At his press conference this afternoon, Gov. Northam said that Northern Virginia is accounting for well more than half of the commonwealth's new COVID-19 cases. He added that he anticipates some of the region's local leaders will join him in Richmond on Wednesday to further outline Northern Virginia's timeline for re-opening.

Please let me or Joe Koch ( know if you have any questions. You can find links to the state and local health departments on the  WANADA COVID-19 Information Library. We will continue to provide you with the latest updates in the coming days and weeks related to the beginning of Virginia's re-opening.

John O'Donnell
WANADA President and CEO